The Nuts and Bolts of Eating for Health

by Tammy Stokes

There’s an old cliché, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But I have a new one for you, “Eat clean. Live lean. Get rest. Decrease Stress. Live your best.” It’s basic and true. The reality is that good health is based on simple principles. As a longtime health and fitness industry professional, my best advice is not to complicate it. I remember meeting Jack LaLanne (nicknamed “The Godfather of Modern Fitaness”) when I was living in Los Angeles. LaLanne was an American fitness icon who lived healthily until he died at the age of 96. He had a very simple philosophy on food. He ate two meals a day and avoided snacking. His diet was mainly vegetarian but included fish. LaLanne was known for his wise and quirky sense of humor that criticized the consumption of processed foods and he was often quoted for giving this advice, “If man made it, don’t eat it.”

Understanding the essentials of clean eating is important. Clean eating is based on the foundation of eating foods that enhance health, rather than deteriorate it. Food can be a good medicine or a bad drug. Eating a clean food diet is your first step toward better health. To eat clean means to eat real. When you eat whole foods and products made from ingredients that are free from unnatural additives, you are eating clean. Adopting this food philosophy creates better health and often results in fewer doctor visits.

P1 KeepingItCleanKeep It Fresh
Produce is the king of clean. Spend most of your time and money in this section of the grocery store. Beans, legumes, and sources of healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and high-quality olive oil are all good.

Ditch Protein and Diary
Reduce or eliminate your consumption of meats. When you do choose to eat meat, make sure it is high quality (without hormones, antibiotics, humanely raised) and grass-fed. If you eat fish, choose smaller, cold-water fish like wild-caught salmon, Atka or Atlantic mackerel, anchovies and sardines, all of which often contain low levels of mercury.
It’s best to buy organic eggs because they contain lower amounts of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and have more nutritious omega-3 fatty acids. Clean food diets can include small portions of dairy, but make sure it doesn’t negatively impact your body. Dairy is a common allergen, and in some people can cause inflammation, bloating, and constipation.

Choose Great Grains
Did you know that some of the longest living populations in the world include moderate portions of whole grains in their diet? When chosen correctly, they are slow-burning complex carbohydrates that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
The best whole grains are naturally
gluten free, like whole oats, quinoa, and whole-grain rice. If you don’t have a gluten intolerance, then sprouted grains, whole rye, and barley are tasty options. Finally, clean choices for sweeteners are honey, maple syrup, coconut nectar, molasses, and stevia, but if you can avoid sweetness all together,
even better. Eating clean is pretty straightforward. The tricky part is hidden ingredients. When you order grilled chicken nuggets at a popular fast food restaurant, you might be surprised to know that there are over 20 ingredients in those nuggets and two of them are different forms of sugar.  Mastering clean eating involves knowing what’s in your food. If you can avoid chemicals, food that is overly processed, and unrecognizable ingredients,
you’ll do great.

P2 KeepingItCleanMy “no” list
Beware of these ingredients found in common foods and avoid eating products made with them:
•    Monosodium glutamate (MSG): Asian-influenced food, chips, soups, broths and lunch meats
•    Trans fats: fried foods, fast foods, margarine, coffee creamers, crackers and baked goods
•    Artificial sweeteners: gum, toothpaste, breath mints, chewable vitamins, liquid vitamins, beverages
•    Sulfur dioxide: beer, dried fruits, vinegar, potato products, pickled foods, canned coconut milk, cider, soft drinks, and bottled lemon and lime juices
•    Nitrates: lunch meats, bacon, ham, cured meats, canned meat, jerky, and smoked fish
•    High-fructose corn syrup: breads, candy, salad dressing, soda, sweetened yogurt, canned fruit, juice, cereals, and ketchup
•    Chlorine and aluminum: bleached table salt, rice milk, firming agents in pickled foods and baking powders
•    Food dyes: breakfast cereals, soft drinks, baked goods, desserts, gum, medicines and beverages

Since so much of my work as the founder of West Coast Workout and Cafe West Express centers around food, fitness and lifestyle, I am frequently asked, “So, what do you eat?” I eat a diet of real foods that are minimally processed and contain an array of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and healthy fats. It is the stuff my grandmother would recognize as food. The stuff we prepare in my cafe. My diet is loaded with plants and an occasional serving of fish with a glass of wine.
My dietary staples
•    Medicinal mushrooms found in the Emperor’s Broth at Cafe West Express. I drink the broth daily for immunity and longevity.
•    Sea vegetables like nori for their mineral content.
•    Herbs and spices, especially cinnamon, oregano, rosemary, thyme, hot peppers, turmeric, and ginger. I use an abundance of fresh and dried herbs for flavor and medicinal effects.
•    Green tea for protection from oxidative stress.
•    Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
•    Big colorful salads containing lots of greens. I call them “longevity salads” because that is why I eat them, for longevity.
•    Flax seeds for omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
•    Apples. Yes, I eat one every day because apples are rich in flavonoids and pectin fiber.
•    Oats. Oh, how I love the fiber-rich flax and energy a bowl of Life Porridge from Cafe West Express gives me in the wintertime.
•    Berries, because they are packed with antiaging, beautifying, and antioxidant nutrients.
•    “Pond water.” It’s awful tasting, but the mix of spirulina, grasses, chlorella and brewer’s yeast give me undeniable energy to do what I do every day.

I’m sharing one of my favorite quotes about food from social scientist Claude Fischler, “If you are what you eat and you don’t know what you’re eating, do you know who you are?” Think about it.

 P3 KeepingItClean

Tuesday, 26 November 2019 22:00

Best of 2019 Contest Winners

You voted! We listened.

After tens of thousands of votes, you have chosen this year’s best for fitness, beauty, health, fun, and food!
On Nov. 7, Best Self Atlanta hosted a celebratory photo shoot and party to honor our featured “Best of 2019” contest winners. Honorees gathered to mingle and enjoy fantastic food from Red Pepper Taqueria. While at our studio, attendees received makeup by The Green Room Agency before being photographed by Dan Sawyer of Sawyer Photography. To see the complete list of Best of 2019 winners, visit

TennisBest Facility for Competitive Tennis Training

Windy Hill Athletic Club
Whether you’re looking for industry-leading tennis instruction, innovative group fitness classes, restorative spa services, exceptional social activities, a family-friendly atmosphere, or even a delicious meal, you’ll find it at Windy Hill’s 11-acre fitness oasis. Not only does this club have one of the highest retention rates in the industry, it values member input and even partnered with the customer feedback platform Medallia to give members a voice and implement changes based on their feedback. | 770.953.1100

P2 BO AtlantaGasto
Best Gastroenterology Practice

Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates
As one of the largest gastroenterology practices in the Southeast, patients receive expert digestive healthcare from an extensive team of diverse, board-certified physicians, including diagnosis, 
treatment, outpatient procedures and more. | 866.468.6242

P3 BO WagALotBest Doggy Day Care


There’s a whole lot of puppy love going on at WAG-A-LOT. Atlanta’s top-rated doggie day care, boarding and grooming facility is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the opening of a third location on the Upper Westside. The sparkling new facility boasts overnight boarding dens, spacious indoor/outdoor play areas, and webcams for pet parents. Meanwhile, the Decatur and Downtown spots are undergoing a renovation worth $500,000. It’s all been a dream come true for owner Craig Koch, who is committed to providing a safe, fun, and caring environment for pups. | 404.522.2230

P4 BO Elizabeth Whitaker



Best Plastic Surgery Center for 
Facial Plastic Surgery
Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker—
Atlanta Face and Body
Known for her natural-looking results, double board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker has performed nearly 5,000 face-lifts, as well as thousands of other cosmetic procedures. Known as the “Queen of Faces,” Dr. Whitaker is sought out within Atlanta for her vast antiaging experience, employing the newest advancements in surgical and nonsurgical facial rejuvenation. Find out why thousands rave about her artistry and skill that leads to results that everyone will notice, but no one will know. | 678.888.3223

Nia Pediatric

Best Pediatric Dentistry
Nia Pediatric Dentistry
With thriving locations in East Cobb and Canton that feature extended business hours and limited Saturday availability, Nia Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics puts children at ease when getting their teeth cleaned. Its board-certified pediatric dentists have extensive training in growth and development, special healthcare needs, laser dentistry, and orthodontic treatment. The team has more than 20 years of combined experience and focuses on creating a safe, warm, and fun environment for patients and their families. | 770.479.9999

P6 BO Anderson
Best Place for Nonsurgical Facial Rejuvenation

Anderson Aesthetics
Embracing the unique beauty of each person, Anderson Aesthetics works one-on-one with clients to help them achieve their best selves through custom treatment plans based on personal goals and optimal outcomes. A full menu of services—ranging from peels to injectables and microneedling—is offered in a warm, relaxing environment that feels more like a friend’s home than a medical facility. Membership plans are also available at the Alpharetta-based practice, which prides itself on long-term relationships and community involvement. | 404.996.6530

P6 BO The-M Center


Best Pediatric Practice

The M Center for Integrative Wellness
At this boutique practice, board-certified pediatrician Maia Walton, MD, works in tandem with child-focused experts, including Ph.D.-trained researcher and holistic health professional Monica Scales, FMCHC, to care for healthy children, as well as those with developmental challenges, learning disabilities, mental health disorders, autoimmune conditions, and more. The complete team of practitioners is made up of parents (three of which have children with special needs), meaning they are able to understand and relate to the challenges of patients in a unique way. | 888.381.8556

P7 BO LilBites

Best Food Truck
Lil Bites
With the slogan, “Something fun for everyone,” Lil Bites delivers in a big way. That includes authentic Philly cheesesteaks, Buffalo Chicken Empanadas, and a dedicated kids’ menu with sure-to-please favorites. The family-friendly food truck and catering business is owned by husband-and-wife team Larry and Emily Johnson, with operations manager, Sean Hagler, keeping everything running smoothly. Larry’s a Philly-born food lover, thus the cheesesteaks. Emily’s a Georgia peach,
staking her claim with pulled pork and boiled peanuts. | 404.246.3805

P8 BO AuthenticBeauty

Best Studio for Bombshell Brows
Authentic Beauty
Thousands turn to Authentic Beauty for its precise tweezer-only approach that few studios in Atlanta use. Known for growing back pairs that have been badly damaged by overplucking and waxing, the team here hears the phrase, ‘I never thought I’d have full brows again!’ on a regular basis. Clients aren’t the only ones singing the praises of this 12-year-old studio, it’s also won a Best of Beauty award from Allure. | 404.849.0443

P9 BO Absolute-Image-Consulting

Best Place for Women’s Thinning Hair Treatment

Absolute Image Consulting
As a former national trainer for HairClub For 
Men and Women®, current educator for Hair Visions International, and a member of the American Hair Loss Council, Shannon Wright is passionate about providing luxury solutions tailored for each individual’s needs. At Absolute Image Consulting, which Wright founded in 2001, innovative technology is paired with revolutionary service to help clients look their 
best and feel younger. | 770.642.6003

P1 BO concourse

Best Athletic Club Pool for 
Laps and Lounging
Concourse Athletic Club
Have a resort-like staycation at an athletic club that’s been voted one of the top 10 in the country. Members can’t get enough of its heated, saline indoor and outdoor pools, and its Masters Swim and Junior Stroke programs. During spring and summer, guests can enhance their lounging experience with the poolside bar and grill. Added perks like on-site child care, and luxury locker rooms with whirlpools and saunas, add to the relaxation. | 770.698.2000

Best Plastic Surgery Center for EyesP11 Robinson-Facial-Plastic-Surgery

Dr. Burke Robinson—
Robinson Facial Plastic Surgery
Earning superlative honors in his profession and the utmost praise from his patients, Dr. Burke Robinson comes highly recommended with double board certification by both the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology. In practice for over 27 years at Robinson Facial Plastic Surgery, he specializes in the most advanced surgical and nonsurgical facial procedures to enhance and revitalize appearances while maintaining natural-looking results. | 770.667.3090

P12 Three-D-Wellness

Best Medical Weight Loss Facility
Three D Wellness
The medically supervised weight loss program at 
Three D Wellness gets to the root cause of imbalances, blockages, and dysfunction in patients. Here, the team focuses on successful nutrition therapy to support the management of your health and achieve optimal body composition. As a certified functional medicine provider, Dr. Sonza Curtis combines her medical and naturopathic training to offer a treatment approach that is sound and holistic. | 678.621.8100

P13 AtlantaSmiles

Best General/Family Dental Practice
Atlanta Smiles & Wellness
Dr. Dina Giesler built her Buckhead practice by personal referrals 21 years ago. Today, her commitment to excellence continues to shine at Atlanta Smiles, where she has partnered with Dr. Marianna Kovitch to offer comprehensive care in general and esthetic dentistry, from porcelain veneers and restorations for smile makeovers to implant restorations and orthodontic aligners. With over 50 years of combined experience and hundreds of continuing education credits under their belts, the highly credentialed dentists take a conservative approach to achieving natural and beautiful customized results, providing concierge-level private service in a
stress-free environment. | 404.262.7733


P14 Marietta-Dermatology-Associates


Best Dermatology Practice

Marietta Dermatology Associates
Since 1970, Marietta Dermatology Associates has been well established and highly respected by its patients and the medical community. This family-oriented practice is eager to treat all of your skincare needs. The team’s focus is to provide you with the highest level of dermatologic care, in a respectful, friendly, and professional environment. The physicians and physician assistants here are thoroughly trained and experienced, and ready to provide you with exceptional care. | 770.422.1013

P15 GA-School-of-Ortho


Best Orthodontics Practice
Georgia School of Orthodontics
By Jennifer Colosimo

An esteemed faculty with a mission to serve makes 
Georgia School of Orthodontics stand apart from the competition. Known for delivering the utmost in customer care, its reputation stems from offering an array of board-certified orthodontists alongside their licensed dentists, who take a collaborative approach to provide better comprehensive patient care. They work inside fully digital clinics—in Atlanta and Duluth—with over 20,000-square-feet of combined space using the latest advanced technology, such as intraoral and extraoral scanners, to provide comfortable and precise treatment options for patients. 

In addition, the group’s academic accreditation allows
it to provide the most affordable orthodontic care for families. That means a best-price guarantee on their services and pricing for braces and Invisalign that is almost 40% below the national average. Add in flexible appointment times, a knowledgeable and friendly staff, and the most 
advanced orthodontic technology, it’s not surprising that patients continue to return to (and refer) the 
Georgia School of Orthodontics. 

Most importantly, this team values their commitment to the community, and gives back through complimentary orthodontic care programs. That includes gratis care for children through Gift of A Smile and Purple Heart Smiles. Overall, they’ve provided more than $120,000 in pro bono orthodontic care and have saved the Atlanta community over $9,500,000 on treatment fees since opening in 2016. Now, that’s something to smile about. | 770.351.7737


Best Cosmetic Dentistry Practice for Smile Makeovers

Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry
Patient satisfaction is the pride and joy of Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, which rolls out the red carpet for everyone who steps through the doors. You will always feel like a VIP with the hand and foot massages, freshly baked cookies, warm neck wraps, Bose noise-canceling headphones, blankets, and TVs on the ceiling. While the spa-like atmosphere puts patients at ease, it’s the credentialed team of dental experts, led by founder Dr. Debra Gray King, who ensure the smile-worthy results. | 404.994.4509

P17 Center-for-Allergy-and-Asthma


Best Allergy & Asthma Treatment Practice
Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia
The award-winning healthcare providers at the 
Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia provide personalized care for patients suffering from breathing problems due to allergies, sinus, asthma or other allergic medical conditions. Its team provides the latest treatment options 
and even offers extended hours and same-day 
appointments.  | 404.994.3574

P18 SlimStudio


Best Place for Nonsurgical 
Body Sculpting
Slim Studio
Slim Studio is known by Atlantans for being the gold standard in noninvasive body sculpting. Performing Emsculpt® and CoolSculpting® exclusively to build muscle and reduce fat, the phenomenal staff at this facility exceeds clients’ expectations with the results achieved and concierge service provided. Slim Studio operates under the skilled medical supervision of double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Alan Larsen, of Buckhead Plastic Surgery. | 404.410.7777

P19 PupNCuts


Best Place for Pet Grooming
By Jennifer Colosimo

There’s a reason Pup-N-Cuts has racked up awards from My Buckhead, Nextdoor, and more, since opening in 2011. Endless reviews from customers highlight its clean facilities, happy puppies, professional and courteous service, pet-friendly practices and pooches looking more adorable than ever before. It’s even common for owner, Anita Brown, to regularly be at the salon to greet and interact with customers and their furry friends. It’s this familial bond with her clientele and the outstanding service provided by her team that’s led to the explosive popularity of Pup-N-Cuts, which will launch a new location in Chamblee,
as a part of the SLX Atlanta project, in 2020.  
Pup-N-Cuts outdoes the competition with its full-service pet spa and salon in the heart of Brookhaven. Specializing in grooming services for all breeds, thousands of dog owners turn to this salon for its extensive list of pampering possibilities like nail trimming, ear cleanings, blowouts, hot oil treatments, haircuts and more. A team of professional stylists, who have, on average, 15 to 19 years of experience, uses high quality hand-selected products such as specialty shampoos, color enhancers, hypoallergenic options and more to ensure safe and gentle results. Plus, the team also offers the advanced HydroSurge® BathPro™ system, which leaves every dog with skin that is cleaner, healthier, and a coat that shines.

But it goes beyond spa days. Dog owners never have to worry about dropping off their pets for extended stays, because the staff at Pup-N-Cuts is experienced, expertly trained, and extremely compassionate. With a menu of day care and boarding options for petite pups, it’s a one-stop shop for the things to keep your furriest family member—and you—happy. | 404-549-2031

P20 AndersonCenterHair

Best Place for Men’s Hair
Replacement / Restoration

Anderson Center for Hair
With a dedicated surgical team that has over 135 years of combined experience in hair restoration surgery, 
Anderson Center for Hair is at the forefront of leading technologies for fighting hair loss safely and effectively. Patients can have complete peace of mind on this life-changing journey, from knowing all the options and projected outcomes of their treatment plan, to post-surgical care and follow-up. A state-of-the-art practice with offices in Atlanta and Alpharetta, Dr. Ken Anderson also conducts training in hair restoration surgery for physicians throughout the country. | 404.256.4247

P21 Janet-Wix


Best Place for Permanent Makeup
Janet Wix
One of Atlanta’s leading Certified Permanent Cosmetics Professionals, Janet Wix, CPCP, is a gifted master artist with a natural eye for beauty who has performed over 10,100 procedures since 2005. She collaborates with every client to achieve optimal results in services including hyper-realism microbladed eyebrows, eyeliner, 3D areola restoration, and Aquarelle lip color. She has offices in Dallas and Marietta, as well as 
Johns Creek, where she works with award-winning Dr. Patricia Yugueros at 
Luna Plastic Surgery. | 404.933.8140

P22 Sweet LashfulBest Place for Gorgeous Eyelash Extensions
Sweet & Lashful Day Spa/MENICURE
Pampering awaits at this Buckhead go-to that offers an array of beauty services in a relaxing setting. Via an app, guests can easily book appointments for everything from eyelash extensions, lash lifts, and massages to hair extensions and teeth whitening. The talented team is led by Nancy Shim, a former medical aesthetician and an award-winning semipermanent makeup and lash artist. The 5,000-square-foot salon also encompasses the Unicorn Teahouse boutique space and The Heart of Beauty Institute + Foundation. | 404.816.6006

P23 Yalif Y-Plastic-SurgeryBest Plastic Surgery Center 
for Breasts
Dr. Asaf Yalif—Y Plastic Surgery
For more than a decade, Dr. Asaf Yalif has taken 
state-of-the-art breast surgery to the next level. After completing his in-depth training, the dedicated surgeon has continued to pursue additional education opportunities through national and international symposia, micro-fellowships, and even touring implant manufacturer facilities. Patients of Dr. Yalif’s three Atlanta locations turn to him and his team regarding their implant choices, incision placement, pocket creation, and more. They appreciate the chance to interact with Dr. Yalif before and after surgery. | 404.476.8774

P24 ThirdEyeTribeBest New Workout Craze and Where to Find It
Third Eye Tribe - A Lagree Studio
This community-minded studio with an inclusive environment, located between Buckhead and Midtown, offers ample opportunity for a 
low- to no-impact workout that burns up to 700 calories and has an afterburn lasting up to 35 hours. Taking a holistic approach, Lagree-certified instructors help members achieve individual fitness goals through full-body conditioning methods. Perks include the 
Studio X cardio room, Balance + Stretch classes, and the new M3K+ Megaformer. | 404.637.5842

P25 TellusBest Museum/Exhibit
Tellus Science Museum
In January 2019, the notable museum celebrated its 
10-year anniversary and crossed the 2 million visitor mark. Recognized in the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame, Tellus is one of only seven museums in the state to be named an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. Its permanent exhibits are designed to be intriguing to visitors of all ages and provide information that is easy to understand. Thanks to outstanding educational programs, top-notch events, and more, people continue to visit the museum on an ongoing basis. | 770.606.5700

P26 Peachtree-HearingBest Audiology/Hearing Practice
Peachtree Hearing
Helmed by Dr. Melissa Wikoff, this boutique family-owned audiology practice is coveted for its range of services—from tinnitus management and advanced hearing aid technology to wax removal and solutions for musicians. Since opening in 2016, Dr. Wikoff has received numerous accolades, including the Caregiving Award from Friends of Gwinnett Seniors for her work with the elderly. She also sits on the board for the 
American Balance Society, and American Tinnitus Association. | 470.485.4327

P27 Social-Security-BenefitBest Financial Planning/Services
Social Security Benefit Planners - Faye Sykes     
A National Social Security Advisor and CEO of Atlanta-based 
Social Security Benefit Planners, Faye Sykes speaks across the country to demystify the complex government program that impacts retirement for almost every American. Faye became passionate about the subject after seeing the missteps people were taking and the toll it took on their lives. She offers flat-fee retirement planning in special circumstances, and she also operates a second business, Scarlet Oak Financial Services. | 800.871.1219

P28 Lindsay-Pitt-SimsBest Wedding Planner
Lindsay Pitt Sims: TOAST Events
Lindsay Pitt Sims heard wedding bells long before she walked down the aisle in 2015. The event planner extraordinaire has been helping brides orchestrate their big day since launching her award-winning company, TOAST Events, in 2008. With rave reviews from publications such as Vogue and Southern Living, Lindsay offers a remarkable client experience with exceptional attention to detail. Her greatest reward: watching the bride and groom enjoy their party. | 678.459.4931 ext. 700

Best Place for Fabulous Fillers
P29 Dr Seth YellinDr. Seth A. Yellin—
Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery, 
Laser & Aesthetics Center
Dr. Seth A. Yellin, FACS, is not only the founder and director of 
Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery, Laser & Aesthetics Center, he is also nationally renowned for his expertise in creating a natural look when volumizing the face with injectable fillers and performing cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery. Having been in practice for more than 
20 years, Dr. Yellin has treated thousands of patients with the goal of making each and every one happy. | 770.425.7575

P30 Stability

Best Pilates Studio

Stability Pilates & Physical Therapy
Here, small class sizes make all the difference as attendees receive individualized attention from Pilates instructors who are often physical therapists. All staff has advanced training and credentials, and provide hands-on correction and cuing. Offering a selection of classes that are designed to complement the schedules of busy professionals, each session here promises to be fun, challenging, and never the same. It’s no wonder this studio will celebrate 10 successful years in business in 2020! | 404.303.9153

P31 Hollywood

Best Pet Store

Hollywood Feed
Walk into any of the 20-plus Georgia locations of this pet store and you’ll be greeted by knowledgeable team members who receive over 40 hours of professional training and product education annually. They can help you select the natural, holistic food and treats that are ideal for your pet, along with stylish dog beds, leashes, and collars. To spread the love, Hollywood Feed also donates more than 100,000 pounds of food each year to animal shelters and rescue facilities. | 1.888.816.8691

P32 Dr

Best Urology Practice

Dr. Scott D. Miller, WellStar Health System
With Dr. Miller’s more than 20 years of experience and expertise in robotic and laparoscopic surgery added to the trusted WellStar family, patients receive the best quality of care and service through advanced techniques and proactive treatment plans. | 470.956.4230

P34 Dermatology-Center-of-Atlanta


Best Place for Natural-Looking Botox
Dermatology Center of Atlanta
The unique approach Dermatology Center of Atlanta’s board-certified dermatologists take with cosmetic injectables has consistently earned this center an Allergan Top 500 ranking, putting them in the top 1% of providers in the U.S. of BOTOX® Cosmetic and fillers. Patients value how their precise approach yields extremely natural-looking results and appreciate the team’s commitment to safety and comfort. Over the past 20 years, 
Dermatology Center of Atlanta has won numerous awards, including their recent award of Best Dermatologist in My Alpharetta magazine. | 770.497.0699

P35 Luna


Best Plastic Surgery Center for the Tummy/Midsection
Dr. Patricia Yugueros—Luna Plastic Surgery
Patients here feel at ease in the care of its physician leader Dr. Patricia Yugueros. Trained by the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, Dr. Yugueros is a double board-certified plastic surgeon who has won four consecutive plastic surgery awards from Best Self Atlanta readers. The English- and Spanish-speaking doctor, who is also the chief of plastic surgery at Emory Johns Creek Hospital, is known for her compassionate demeanor and revered for her achievements. | 678.892.7820

P36 Joint Replace



Best Joint Care/Replacement Practice
Resurgens Orthopaedics Joint Replacement Center
Consistently recognized as top physicians by Castle Connolly®, U.S. News & World Report, and more, the fellowship-trained specialists at Resurgens Orthopaedics use the latest minimally invasive techniques in hip and knee arthroplasty, including the anterior approach for hip surgery, to perform thousands of joint replacements each year. The best-in-class outpatient surgery settings enable patients to go home the same day of their procedure. Plus, online appointment scheduling with any of their 24 metro area locations makes the process simple from start to finish.

P37 Jeju-Sauna


Best Wellness Retreat/Getaway
Jeju Sauna
Jeju Sauna offers an invigorating experience like no other place around. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the gender-separated traditional Korean public bathhouse in Duluth welcomes guests into a heavenly haven of well-being. The sprawling 35,000-square-foot facility is furnished with hot tubs, showers, and kiln saunas, as well as exercise rooms, a food court, and sleeping quarters. Detox in one of the mineral rooms or take a dip in the natural saltwater pool. | 678.336.7414

P38 New-Vitality-Medical



Best Hormone Therapy Center

New Vitality Medical, LLC

For those looking to turn back time, New Vitality Medical, LLC, is happy to help, with a wide range of effective antiaging services to recapture some of that youthful exuberance. Customizing age-management solutions to individual wellness goals, New Vitality offers hormone replacement therapy, body contouring, nutrient IVs and more, with affordable comprehensive treatment plans. The distinguished medical team is led by Allison Cochran, PA-C, MPAS; Dr. Rhett Bergeron; and 
Ashley Penney, FNP-BC, MSN. | 404.228.7900

P39 Venkman

Best Hidden Gem for Live Music

Head to the heart of Old Fourth Ward for an entertaining evening with a modern retro vibe. The restaurant, bar, and music venue pairs creative comfort food with live performances nightly. The eclectic musical lineup is curated by Peter Olson and Nicholas Niespodziani, the creative gurus behind PleaseRock and the frontmen of the Yacht Rock Revue. A variety of ticketed and free shows feature everything from jazz, funk, and soul to alternative rock and acoustic singer/songwriter acts, with local upstarts and nationally touring artists alike taking the stage. | 470.225.6162


P40 Resurgens SPINE

Best Back and Spine Care Practice
Resurgens Back and Spine Care Practice

Resurgens Spine Center has been providing exceptional spine care in metro Atlanta since 1999.  With a dedicated team of 26 board-certified physicians and the convenience of 24 metro area locations, Resurgens Spine Center offers nonsurgical and surgical treatment options to address the full scope of neck and back issues, from herniated discs, sciatica, and more. Resurgens Spine Center continues to earn accolades, including being Best Self Atlanta’s top spine center for four consecutive years. 


Friday, 22 November 2019 15:43

December 2019 / January 2020_Digital Issue

December 2019 / January 2020 Digital Issue

Tuesday, 08 October 2019 16:40

Catch the Wave w/ ChefPano


Chef Pano I. Karatassos dazzles the Atlanta Best Media team at his Buckhead restaurant, Kyma

By Katherine Sauceda

P3 ChefPanoChef Pano I. Karatassos has loved to cook for as long as he can remember. The first dish he ever made with pride was a quadruple-stacked peanut butter and 
jelly sandwich for his brother, Niko, at age 4. When their mother woke up, the kitchen was a mess and the boys were covered with the sticky spreads. As a child, Karatassos loved watching Yiayia (“grandmother” in Greek) prepare traditional Grecian dishes like Youvetsi, an orzo pasta with braised lamb shanks. In the ’80s and ’90s, Karatassos witnessed his father, Pano Karatassos, take the Atlanta culinary scene by storm and create the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, which includes notable eateries such as Chops Lobster Bar and Atlanta Fish Market.

Karatassos’ career blossomed with formal chef training from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in 1996. Under the tutelage of influential chefs, like Thomas Keller of The French Laundry (a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant), Karatassos honed his skills in the kitchen. His path came full circle in 2001 when he returned to his fine dining roots in Atlanta to open Kyma, the Hellenic word for “wave.” The contemporary Greek restaurant specializes in mezes, meaning appetizers, and is meant to showcase the beautiful foods of Greece in a high-end setting mimicking the color scheme associated with swoon-worthy islands like Santorini. The Atlanta Best Media team recently had the pleasure of experiencing Karatassos’ culinary creations first hand.
During our 10-course tasting, restaurant mainstays prepared with Karatassos’ new line of extra-virgin olive oil and olives graced our table, including the Grilled Octopus and whole fish Lavraki. The journey began with roasted oysters topped with a Champagne emulsion and caviar, paired to perfection with a glass of Amalia Brut sparkling wine with peach and pear notes. P1 ChefPanoThe Calamari Pasta had us all whipping out our phones because we could not miss this Instagram-worthy plate. Thin-sliced calamari resembling pasta and sautéed vegetables beautifully sat in a ceramic bowl painted with a saffron yogurt spread on the inside. Though it looked like a work of art, we quickly dug in while learning that as one scoops the “pasta” out of the bowl, you should run the spoon along the inside of the bowl to capture the smooth yogurt coating the dish. No meal at Kyma would be complete without Karatassos’ Lamb Pie. The moment you take a bite of the coiled phyllo pie stuffed with lamb on top of a thick spiral of Greek yogurt, it is easy to conclude how this dish led to Karatassos’ victory against Bobby Flay on the Food Network’s hit show, “Beat Bobby Flay” this past August.
P2 ChefPanoOur culinary journey drew to a close with the Blueberry Galo pastry accompanied by a dollop of mahlepi ice cream. Per Karatassos’ recommendation, it was paired with a dessert wine made with the unique Malagouzia grape, which was once nearly extinct, for extra sweetness. You might not be fortunate enough to have this executive chef’s masterpieces on your table every night, but you can do your best to imitate them. Karatassos put his passion to paper with “Modern Greek Cooking,” his inaugural cookbook dedicated to authentic, approachable meals. 
But if you don’t feel like whipping up a recipe at home, simply make a reservation at Kyma and Karatassos will be happy to do the cooking for you.
Details: 3085 Piedmont Rd., Atlanta;


Monday, 07 October 2019 16:35

Making Sense of Metastatic Breast Cancer

Patients, doctors, and specialists talk treatments, support, and staying positive

P1 BreastCancerGiven the massive amount of attention breast cancer receives, most people have a basic concept of the disease. But many may not know the
difference between breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer. While there are similarities, it’s those differences that deserve their own fair share of attention.
The Basics In the simplest of terms, metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread beyond the breast. “The most common places for breast cancer to spread
are to the liver, lungs and bones,” says Amelia Zelnak, MD, MSc, medical oncologist at Atlanta Cancer Care at Northside Hospital Cancer Institute.
Ewssentially, the cancer cells migrate beyond the breast cancer into the bloodstream, traveling to other areas of the body. “These cells would have escaped prior to detection of and surgery for the early stage cancer, but they are so small that they cannot be detected,” Dr. Zelnak says. “If these cancer cells are able to survive while circulating through the body, they can then begin to grow in other places such as the liver, lungs and bones.”

P2 BreastCancerMetastatic breast cancer (MBC) is diagnosed as an advanced cancer, known as stage 4. As such, very few initial breast cancer diagnoses are MBC. In fact, according to Damien Hansra, MD, medical oncologist with Cancer Treatment Centers of America®, Atlanta, and member of its Breast Cancer Center, says, based on population studies, of the 250,000 breast cancer cases diagnosed each year, just 6% of those cases present with stage 4, or MBC. Therefore, the majority of MBC cases
are diagnosed following an initial early-stage breast cancer diagnosis.
Unfortunately, a large number of MBC diagnoses are found in African-American women, who are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than Caucasian women. A number of factors contribute to this high rate of diagnosis. For instance, some studies show there are lower rates of African-American women getting screened via mammograms combined with lower rates of following up on those screenings, Dr. Hansra says. “Some studies show they also are less likely to receive chemotherapy after surgery,” he says. This could be due to inadequate health insurance and/or the lack of access to healthcare. Studies are ongoing.

Facing Everyday Life
P3 BreastCancerYou would think breast cancer patients who receive a MBC diagnosis would know what to expect given they have been diagnosed with breast cancer before. However, that’s not always the case. For Liz McLaughlin of Cumming, she thought she had beat breast cancer after her initial diagnosis in June 2009. “I thought I had licked it because it was eight years later,” she says. “I’m a very positive person, so I was shocked.”
Now 62 years old, McLaughlin, who recently spoke at the Greater Atlanta Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference hosted by Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta in May, was diagnosed with MBC on her 60th birthday. “They did not prepare me for the fact that it could spread,” she says. Her scans showed she had six new tumors, and her treatment plan included chemotherapy and letrozole hormone therapy. Right now, the cancer is not growing, but it’s not dissipating either. As such, it’s always present. “You think about it all the time,” McLaughlin says. “There are so many things around you that remind you of it.” These include monthly blood work, regular scans, and everyday life, such as trying to avoid contracting an infection due to low white blood cell counts.

Imagine the effects of living with MBC as a young parent. That’s exactly the life Rebekah Howerton of Roswell leads. The 36-year-old mother of a
12-year-old son was originally diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer at age 31. She underwent surgery and was declared cancer-free. Within six months, though, the cancer was back and it had spread. “I didn’t understand what metastatic breast cancer was,” Howerton says. “We [breast cancer patients] are not educated on what that means. It took a year to accept the diagnosis.” She’s undergone eight surgeries, including a dual craniotomy this summer, 19 rounds of radiation, and daily treatment drugs. “Ongoing treatments for MBC often require time off from work and navigating the complex world of Social Security Disability Insurance. There’s quite a buzz in the breast cancer community about H.R. 2178, a bill proposing to eliminate the SSDI automatic six- to 12-month-plus waiting period to start receiving benefits,” Howerton says. “I’ve been able to use my paid vacation time to transition back to work after being on short-term disability, but this is still very challenging for MBC patients to navigate. Most MBC patients I know are unable to work and I consider myself lucky to have a career to go back to,” she adds. None of these battles stop Howerton from living her life. “Your treatment is indefinite,” Howerton says. “It’s living with it.” And that’s what she does. She continues to work at her job in public relations, but she is also focused on  having experiences and building traditions with her son.“He’s taught me a lot,” Howerton says. “He builds me up. We’re this dynamic duo. A lot of that is my driving force to keep going. He keeps me focused.”

P4 BreastCancer2Today’s Treatments
When treating MBC, surgery can be a first step, but ongoing treatment involves a variety of options usually dictated by the type of breast cancer. Clinical trials also play a role in treatment, as ongoing research reveals more information about breast cancer. “There are new clinical trials adding molecular therapies,” Dr. Hansra says. “We’re examining patients’ tumors to find a weak link in the armor to attack it.”
Of course, palliative and supportive care are vital in MBC treatment, too. “It’s extremely important because you’re living with uncertainty,” says Kimberly Curseen, director of outpatient supportive care at Emory Healthcare. “How you process that is important to how you do. It’s really difficult to live fully in a state of fear.”
Palliative and supportive care includes support groups, financial and estate planning, access to social workers, counseling, nutritional guidance, physical therapy and more. “Managing MBC affects all the areas of your life including physical, emotional, social, professional and spiritual,” says Karen Whitehead, MS, LCSW, CCH, psychotherapist at Karen Whitehead Counseling who also works with TurningPoint Breast Cancer Rehabilitation. “Alongside your medical team, it can be beneficial to talk with others who can help you adjust and thrive in all areas of your life. Support groups and individual counseling are available to help you get back to living your life.”



Monday, 07 October 2019 16:15

My Best Self: Lauren Simmons


It’s all in the numbers for Lauren Simmons—more specifically—the number two, which you could say is a significant one for her. Two years ago, at the age of 22, the Marietta native and Kennesaw State University graduate became the youngest and only full-time female equity trader, for Rosenblatt Securities, on the New York Stock Exchange. The role also made her the second African-American woman in history to serve as a full-time trader. Thankfully, things have changed since the first woman
started working on the floor in 1967, like the creation of a women’s restroom.

Though her signature trader jacket had to be tailored to fit (the item only comes in men’s sizes), the former genetics student has handled stepping into a world dominated by men with ease. Here she talks breaking glass ceilings, the movie being made about her life, and staying centered.

By Melanie PreisP1 MyBestSelf Lauren Simmons

While you job hunted in New York, you created a vision board and read self-help books to maintain a positive attitude. What other tools did you utilize to create the right headspace?
Meditation. My mediation practice started in college and stemmed from a desire to change my mindset. One day, I sat down in my dorm room and just sat in stillness. I loved how I felt during and after. I felt in control of my life and at peace. From there, I have continued the practice. My stress management comes from yoga, Pilates, and mediation. I try to stay in a routine so I can be centered and focused.

How does it feel to be the youngest and only full-time female equity trader on Wall Street for Rosenblatt Securities?
When I first came to the trading floor, I really do not believe anybody thought I was going to pass the Series 19 [the exam all floor brokers must pass to receive their badge], which has a 20% pass rate. But I did it! I did it for me, to prove that I could do it and thoroughly shocked the men on the trading floor. Hopefully, my story will encourage women as a whole to join finance, not just the trading floor. The numbers of women versus men [in this industry] are staggering.

What advice do you have for women working in, or trying to get in, male-dominated fields?
Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. You were hired because they thought you were capable. I encourage you to do the job and do the job to the best of your ability. Often, women get in their heads and have imposter syndrome. Your biggest critic will always be yourself. When you let that go, you have the ability to achieve greatness in your role.

Tell us more about the movie being made about your life?
I am working with AGC Studios and am currently one of the executive producers. It will tell my life story and feature actress               Kiersey Clemons. I am excited for her to share my message on a larger platform.

You currently live in New York, but what do you miss most about living in Atlanta?
Georgia will always be home. I especially miss its weather during the blustery winter months here. Sweet tea—it’s not a thing in New York. And grass—I love to hike and be outside. New York is a concrete jungle, and I don’t get to experience it as much.

What helps you be your “best self?”
One of the books I rely on is “The Universe Has Your Back” by Gabrielle Bernstein. I reread it often when I’m in doubt, and it helps me be a better me, and reminds me to let things go.
To follow Lauren’s journey, visit



According to, our state ranks No. 5 in the U.S. for the highest number of women-owned businesses. 
Women-owned enterprises are booming, and with industry leaders like the ones in this article, we can only imagine that 
female-helmed firms will continue to thrive. Here, 10 of Atlanta’s female entrepreneurs offer insight into their 
career paths and advice for dreamers everywhere.

Helen Ngo

P1 WE Helen-NgoHelen Ngo says she started Capital Benchmark Partners, located in Sandy Springs, because she, “Saw a need for one-on-one financial planning for younger women, especially those who are just starting off in their careers and who didn’t really have much guidance or accessibility to a financial planner.” And so her company was born. Six years later, she helps women, primarily between the ages of 30 and 45, navigate all of the significant life changes that happen within that window of time. Think tackling student loan payments, purchasing a first home, and even getting married and merging finances—that means encouraging women to go after big dreams and big checks. “My mission is to inspire more women to want to make more money, and know that it’s OK to talk about that. To just open up dialogue, but also help them manage their spending and savings.”

What is one word that describes your 
entrepreneurship journey?
Tenacious. You have to be pretty relentless and tenacious about promoting yourself and putting yourself out there. A lot of people think entrepreneurs just open the doors and people start pouring into your shop or your business, and you make money, but that’s not true. Being an entrepreneur is all about your ability to generate money and bring in business. That has everything to do with marketing and how you position yourself and even the way you talk. A big part of it is being relentless and not taking ‘No,’ for an answer. To me, when somebody says, ‘No,’ I always think of it as, ‘No, not right now.’

Judy Mozen

P2 WE Judy-MozenHaving been in the business world for 43 years, Judy Mozen, founder and president of Handcrafted Homes, Inc., has several incredible notches on her tool belt. Her Roswell-based company led the restoration of the home of Asa Candler, the founder of The Coca-Cola Company, and her team has been the recipient of a number of industry awards including National Contractor of the Year wins from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). However, Mozen says one of her most rewarding career accomplishments was being the fourth woman ever elected as national president of NARI. “The leadership roles I’ve held in the industry have given me a platform to affect change by promoting more inclusion and diversity,” she explains. Getting involved in professional organizations is one of Mozen’s tools for success, and she advises that those looking to also break glass ceilings do the same. “When I first began in this industry, I was so busy establishing a business that I waited until later in the game to become active in professional associations and local nonprofits.
If I had a do-over, I would have applied to Leadership Atlanta, joined nonprofit boards, and become certified with NARI earlier. Getting involved in the community creates valuable connections with others and keeps you current.”

What do you hope your legacy is?
I hope to impact the construction industry on three different levels. First, I have strived to reintroduce the remodeler to the consumer as a trusted professional: someone who is reputable, insured, and certified. Second, I would like my influence nationally to encourage other remodelers to promote diversity in their hiring practices. Finally, I want women to know that this is an exciting and rewarding profession in which they have the opportunity to excel.

Michelle Falconer

P3 WE Michelle-FalconerAs the founder of Bailey & Hunter Realty, Michelle Falconer has learned how to roll with the real estate punches. She bought her first house at 19 and her first investment property at 20. “It was an empty shell,” she recalls. Little did she know, that shell of a home would launch her passion for real estate. “Twenty-three years later, I’m still doing it,” she says enthusiastically.
Bailey & Hunter Realty specializes in working with investors to help them find and manage investment properties. “It’s the largest investment you’ll probably personally make,” says the mother of four who resides in Southwest Atlanta. “And no matter if you’re buying a house to live in or [to use] to make a profit on, it’s still an investment, and you need to treat it as such.” Over the years, Falconer has met hardships head on, including the Great Recession. “When the market changed, property management became what everybody needed. There were all of these houses with no owners in them, so we became a hot commodity because we were already in that space. We became the largest minority, female-owned property management firm in the Southeast.” Talk about turning lemons into lemonade.

Why is it important to you to inspire other women entrepreneurs, whether
or not they’re going to be in your particular field?
When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re figuring it out as you get to it. So it’s invaluable to learn from other people’s mistakes and to share with them your successes.

What do you hope your kids learn from you as a business owner? I want them to learn that your life is a book, and there are different chapters. You can have long chapters, and you can have short chapters, but you can write whatever you want on your pages and start a new chapter whenever you want.

Andreia Guilmet

P4 WE AndreiaGuilmetThirty-four. That’s the number of Brazilian Wax by Andreia salons there are throughout the Southeast. Andreia Guilmet founded her first salon in 2005 after spending five years making house calls and working out of her home. Since then, she has continually added more locations to her empire. Guilmet says her secret sauce (besides her proprietary wax) is hard work and generosity. “Everything that comes to me cannot stop with me; it must flow through and continue to bless others.” As an emigrant from Brazil with less than $500 in her pocket when she arrived, Guilmet had to overcome everything from navigating red tape to learning a third language, but the East Cobb resident says throughout those challenges, one thing remained steadfast—her faith. “I believe all successful entrepreneurs and business owners must have faith. The reality is that there are day-to-day challenges out of our control that present themselves and must be navigated. When one realizes that it is not possible to control every situation, you begin to rely on faith. It is my faith in God that keeps me and my business moving forward.”

What advice do you have for building a team that contributes to a brand’s success? Everyone has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. You have to be patient and trusting while tapping into everyone’s individual strengths. I respect my team members and give them space to grow, both personally and professionally. Watching them evolve over the years fills my heart and makes me proud.

What do you want fellow entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs, to know about the beauty industry? The beauty industry is endless; there will always be opportunities for an entrepreneur to enter the market and fill a need. But women have a unique opportunity to cater to a different clientele, that men are unable to cater to. Over the past 10 years, we have seen more and more multimillion-dollar companies being founded, owned, or operated by women. Inspiring the younger generation is very important, and I believe we should all strive to be fruitful and productive in order to leave a legacy behind.

Carrie Wright

P5 WE Carrie-WrightThere are few things more inspiring than a woman who has successfully been in one field for 20 years, only to make the switch to follow her dreams and create an equally successful endeavor in another. That’s the case for Intown Salt Room’s Carrie Wright. Wright’s first path had her leading marketing initiatives for internet, media and hotel companies, but patience would bring her to her second passion: wellness. “When I started my entrepreneurial journey of opening the first salt room in Atlanta, dry salt therapy, also known as halotherapy, was basically a trend in the spa industry. My first two years of developing the business plan involved a lot of phone calls and internet searches to find research, resources, and vendors to learn more about the operational and business side of dry salt therapy. It was during my research that I saw the opportunity to create a stand-alone salt room offering a private experience for dry salt therapy, as well as an experience for meditation with sound therapy,” she explains. Now, she notes how far she’s come. “The proudest moment so far is celebrating Intown Salt Room’s 1-year anniversary. The first year is the hardest for any new small business, and I’m humbled that I made it through my first year of business.”

What challenges did you face when starting your business?
Surprisingly, finding the space and ordering the custom Himalayan salt for the décor was easy. However, as the first stand-alone salt room inside of the perimeter, there were obstacles regarding how to build out the space to incorporate the salt. It was also difficult to find a local contractor and architecture firm willing to take on a first-of-its-kind project in Atlanta.

How do you support other local entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs?
Collaborating with local entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs, is essential for how I’m able to generate awareness and grow my brand. Support has included co-hosting events, creating unique instructor led-experiences, exclusive product bundles and curated wellness experiences as well as studies with test groups on the benefits of dry salt therapy and meditation with sound therapy.

Lisa Marshall

P6 WE Lisa-MarshallIn the 10 years since Lisa Marshall founded her Alpharetta-based business, Multisport Explosion, a triathlon training program held at facilities around
metro Atlanta, she’s watched her high-performance team (the only one of its kind in Georgia) expand not only in size but also in caliber of athletes. In fact, the team finished the 2019 season with a No. 3 national ranking led by teens who have been with Marshall since the beginning. “The athletes that performed so well all season have been with us since we started this program in 2010. They were 7 to 9 years old. They bought into our philosophy and have become some of the top youth and junior triathletes in the country,” Marshall explains. The road to success hasn’t always been easy, especially in a male-dominated industry. “As a strong-minded and passionate female, I’m often referred to as ‘aggressive’ or ‘difficult.’ All the while, if a strong-minded and passionate male coach was to say, act or behave in the same manner, he’d be called a ‘powerful’ and ‘passionate’ coach. It’s a double standard for women coaching any sport at a high level.” Despite the challenges, Marshall says she hopes to inspire her athletes to be diligent and determined. “I want them to learn that hard work does pay off. If they put in the time and effort, they will see the results, and I want them to apply this to everything they do—from sports, school, relationships, and beyond.”

How do you decompress?
I work out. I still train by swimming, biking, running and lifting weights like I have for 25 years when I started participating in triathlons. I just don’t compete anymore. I have made the switch from being a competitive athlete to being a motivated coach. I have to stay in shape to keep up with these young athletes! I also like to escape to the beach or lake just to be near water and be still.

Glenett Hannah

P7 WE Glenett-HannahA former soldier in the U.S. Army and participant in the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) Atlanta program, Glenett Hannah says her first love is giving back to veterans. She is a licensed clinical social worker with a degree from Columbia University, and she found that she connected to veterans and their families in a way that others didn’t. “A lot of people do not understand veterans and all that they go through, and a lot of people do not even understand what the families go through. I knew that was my niche,” she explains. Along with the tools, connections and support she received from V-WISE Atlanta, the Stone Mountain local got the final push she needed to begin her business when doctors found a blood clot in her lung in 2015, and then again in 2017. “I thought that was God saying, ‘This is it. This is your path to becoming your own boss.’” Since launching Hannah Innovative Solutions, a consulting firm providing mental health counseling, administrative support, and training development, two years ago, Hannah has specialized in holistic counseling for veterans and their families as they reintegrate back into civilian life from the military. Through methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy, Hannah is able to provide a safe space for her clients to be open about their issues. “One of my most rewarding moments was when a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran was able to release the trauma, guilt, and tormenting thoughts and nightmares he had from serving. After a few sessions, the veteran broke down and said, ‘Why did I live when so many of my friends died in front of me?’ It choked me up to see how the darkness of war had consumed him and how being able to release the past allowed some sunshine to enter back into his life. I can’t even imagine the trauma he carried all those years,” Hannah says. “This is why I do what I do for veterans and their families.”

What were some of the barriers you faced when launching Hannah Innovative Solutions?
I had no clue what it would take to start a business—from the kind of entity it would be to the accounting and legal advice I needed, there was so much to learn. Not to mention, the crucial questions I needed to ask myself such as, ‘Who needs my services and why? What makes me different from all the other counseling services out there?’ And most of all, ‘Is this really something I want to do? Am I doing this for me?’

Cyndi Sterne

P8 WE Cyndi-SterneYou could say Cyndi Sterne’s career has been peppered with perseverance. Through name, location, and concept changes, Sterne has managed to forge ahead. “Every business has challenges, some within our control, such as customer service, quality, and location, and some we can’t control like the economy, competition, and trends,” she explains. “You can’t let the obstacles overcome you. You have to keep going and find different ways to make your business succeed.” And succeed it has. Sterne’s company, Yes, Chef! Culinary Events (formally named Hal’s Kitchen) located in the Belle Isle Square in Sandy Springs, hosts everything from corporate team-building outings and private events, to rentals for television and movie production staff, and visiting chefs. She credits her success to her supportive spouse and children, her employees and her desire to make each customer’s experience exceptional. However, she also notes that maintaining a work-life balance has been a bit of a learning curve that she’s only recently mastered. “It’s a challenge to remind myself to work ‘on’ the business instead of ‘in’ the business. A lot of my time is actually spent hosting the events, teaching classes and working with vendors. I have to remind myself to set aside time every day to make sure that I am continuing to grow the business. Also, setting boundaries. About four years into the business, I stopped answering the phone after 5:30. As Yes, Chef! Culinary Events has boomed, it has been important to set aside time to focus solely on my family.”

Who is your mentor or entrepreneurial role model?
Sara Blakely is amazing! I admire that she talks about her fears, her family, and is supportive of other female artists and businesses owners.

How do you decompress?
Spin, baby, spin! I love the spin classes at Life Time Athletic, Sandy Springs. I’ve reconnected with old friends, made new friends, and a little bonus is that it has been a great place to network and promote Yes, Chef! Culinary Events. The best part, though, is an hour of time just for me.

Peiru Kim

P9 WE Peiru-KimPeiru Kim’s career launched like most young adults. She was a Georgia Tech grad and employed by a national real estate developer for over a decade. However, when the market took a turn for the worst, Kim found herself doing some soul searching. “I thought long and hard on what to do with the next chapter of my life.
I have always dreamed of owning my own business and have always been drawn to the beauty industry since I was a little girl. With a young baby in tow, I knew I wanted to start my own business and decided to pursue my dream.” The Buckhead resident purchased the Atlanta Sugarcoat business in 2010 and launched her second career. “I made a commitment to create the ultimate nail salon. I envisioned myself as a customer and asked what I would want my beauty destination to look like. I enrolled in nail and esthetics school to learn the ins and outs of the beauty industry,” Kim says. Today, nearly 6,000 women and men flock to her five Sugarcoat locations monthly for a luxurious nail care experience. Kim isn’t slowing down anytime soon either, she plans to open two more salons in 2020.

Who is your mentor or entrepreneurial role model?
The entrepreneur that I look up to the most is Sonny Kahn of Crescent Heights. He was the chairman of the real estate development firm that I worked for. He emigrated from Israel and worked as a taxi driver and mechanic before getting into real estate development. Meeting him, working for his company, and learning of his life story at the beginning of my career really impacted me and made me a believer that through faith, hard work, and persistence, anything is possible. He is a great man of faith, who is full of kindness and love and gives endlessly to his employees and the community.

Kim Wilson

P10 WE Kim-WilsonWalking through her sprawling Buckhead store, which began as a vegetable stand, you’re likely to find Kim Wilson stocking the latest treats from area bakers or putting together thoughtful gift baskets with bubble baths and mugs for local teachers. She often has a smile on her face, bounding from one customer to the next. But it hasn’t always been as easy as Wilson makes it look. “Starting a business is such work. I had to look past the daily obstacles and be persistent to reach my goals. It’s taken me 10-plus years to build my business—everything from my customer base to relationships with my vendors, it all takes time and perseverance,” she says. Knowing how much work goes into starting a business, Wilson is doing her part to pass it on. “We provide female entrepreneurs a platform to develop and showcase their brands. We currently support over 20 women-owned-and-created businesses that sell products at Lucy’s Market. I regularly meet with new vendors who want to test packaging and receive feedback from customers and who are looking to expand a product line. I want to support other women the way that I was supported when my business was beginning.”

What are some of the greatest business obstacles you had to overcome?
One of my most memorable challenges was balancing a job that required me to be up and out of the house before dawn. I would meet farmers at the market before my children woke up and then have them sit between crates of fresh produce as I drove them to school.
Another obstacle was trusting that success would come from all of my hard work. I had to trust my instincts when other people thought I was crazy.


Thursday, 05 September 2019 15:57

Voting Form

Voting is now open! Participate in Best Self Atlanta's Best of 2019 Contest by voting for your favorites now through Sept. 20. Contest Rules: You may only vote once per day. Create your own user feedback survey

Wednesday, 07 August 2019 16:36

"Best of 2019" Category List


Nominations: Aug. 15-30

Voting: Sept. 5-20

Contest Rules
Businesses may only compete in a maximum of two categories.

Fitness/Weight Loss Section


Best All-Around Athletic Club

Best Athletic Club Pool for Laps and Lounging

Best Boutique Fitness Studio

Best Fitness Facility on a Budget

Best Personal Training for Executives and Celebs

Best Facility for Competitive Tennis Training

Best Facility for Learning the Basics of Tennis

Best Family-Friendly Fitness Center

Best Fitness Facility for Singles Ready to Mingle

Best In-Home Personal Training

Best Luxury Locker Rooms/Changing Area

Best Fitness Facility for Moms

Best New Workout Craze and Where to Find It

Best Workout in Nature

Best Personal Trainer

Best Personal Training Facility

Best Fitness Facility for Golden-Agers

Best Traditional Yoga Class

Best Cycling Store for Instruction and Equipment

Best Hiking Store for Instruction and Equipment

Best Rock Climbing Store for Instruction, Gear, and Group Outings

Best Running Store with Instruction and Great Group Runs


 Hair/Nails Section


Best Blowouts

Best Place for Men's Hair Replacement/Restoration

Best Place for Women's Thinning Hair Treatment

Best Salon for African-American Hair

Best Hair Salon for Guys

Best Hair Salon for Women

Best Place for Expert Laser Hair Removal

Best "Ouch-Free" Waxing

Best Luxe Nail Salon


 Makeup/Brows/Eyelashes Section


Best Studio for Bombshell Brows

Best Place for Gorgeous Eyelash Extensions

Best Agency/Artist for Event-Ready Makeup

Best Place for Permanent Makeup

Nonsurgical Facial/Body Treatments Section


Best Place for Nonsurgical Body Sculpting

Best Place for Natural-Looking Botox

Best Place for Fabulous Fillers

Best All-Around Med Spa

Best Place for Nonsurgical Facial Rejuvenation (microneedling, microdermabrasion)

Best Studio for a Golden Glow without the Sun

Best Place for Feminine Rejuvenation

Best Vein Treatment Practice

Dentistry Section


Best Cosmetic Dentistry Practice for Smile Makeovers

Best General/Family Dental Practice

Best Orthodontics Practice

Plastic Surgery Section


Best Plastic Surgery Center for Breasts

Best Plastic Surgery Center for the Booty

Best Plastic Surgery Center for Eyes

Best Plastic Surgery Center for Facial Plastic Surgery

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Thursday, 01 August 2019 20:08

Bringing Healthcare to Bali


An Atlanta fitness icon is making healthcare accessible in one of the world’s poorest communities.P1 Bricks Bali

The serenity of the Indonesian island Bali has long been treasured by Tony de Leede (above), the wellness entrepreneur that brought Australian Body Works, among other popular fitness companies, to Atlanta. Partnering with his wife, Sue, the two are now using their business knowledge for humanitarian efforts to help the people of their beloved tropical paradise live longer and healthier lives.

Taking On The World

In a way, the Balinese people gave Tony his start in business. As a 20-something, the Sydney, Australia native developed his first successful venture with a clothing business importing pieces from Bali and the Philippines.

On the other side of the world, fate smiled on Tony as a two-week stay in Atlanta morphed into 20 years. During those decades, he founded the hugely successful Australian Body Works (ABW) fitness club chain, capitalizing on the growth of the city as it paralleled with the growth of the health/exercise industry. He served as an envoy for the Australian team during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and continued that relationship in 2000 when the Olympics headed to his hometown of Sydney. Later that year, Tony sold ABW and returned to Australia, continuing his career in fitness by helping build one of the largest fitness club chains in the world, Fitness First Australia, and later transitioned into boutique wellness brands and digital content. Those boutique brands include luxury resort retreats such as Gwinganna in Australia and Hotel Komune in Bali, smaller targeted studios, specialized fitness venues (like Club W), and virtual studios. These business shifts illustrate the unwavering commitment Tony gives to understanding lifestyle trends and encouraging people to find their own path toward healthy living.

P2 Bricks BaliBali Calls
As Tony streamlined his business focus, he and Sue enjoyed more time visiting Bali and found themselves often discussing priorities for their next phase of life. “We both wanted to leave a mark on this world,” Tony muses. The stars aligned in early 2014 when Tony and Sue met another Australian couple in Bali who founded a health-focused charity. That couple, Sue and Ray Bishop, had been looking toward their own retirement years when they fell in love with the Balinese people and recognized their dire need for better local health resources, founding the Bali Sehat nonprofit health initiative in response to that calling. Their efforts spoke directly to the heart of the de Leedes, who soon joined forces with the Bishops to champion this cause.
Bali Sehat (which is Bahasa Indonesian for Healthy Bali) provides healthcare and education to villagers, many of whom live on less than $100 a year, in the poorest regions of East Bali. “This community lives on the side of a volcano,” Sue de Leede explains. “There’s limited education and no contraception. People can die from what would otherwise be simple infections.”
The de Leedes began supporting Bali Sehat’s work financially and collaborating with the Bishops to create opportunities to expand its impact. “Our initial involvement was by way of sponsoring the ‘Healthy Days’ that the foundation conducts four to five times a year. They get a group of volunteer doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, etcetera to go out to a remote area in the region and administer medicine, advice or even perform minor operations for the day. Typically, they see between 200 to 400 local villagers,” Tony explains. Sue de Leede notes that it takes some patients hours to walk to the Healthy Days location to access the clinicians.  

Today, Bali Sehat functions from a small clinic facility with a two-room school next door. “We want to help break the poverty cycle through education,” asserts Sue de Leede, “help the people here [get jobs] in the tourism industry. So far, close to 100 people have graduated and become employed.”
While the clinic space has certainly helped Bali Sehat serve more villagers than it could through Healthy Days events alone, it still does not meet the needs of the more than 7,000 patients that seek its services. That is why the Bishops launched the Bricks for Bali initiative toward the end of 2018 to raise funds to establish a larger clinic/small hospital with enhanced services and facilities. “This new space will be able to serve more patients with equipment, a maternity section, dental services, an emergency department, separate male and female wards, and the ability to get patients to a major hospital should they need it,” Sue de Leede confirms.

Through an online donation link on the Bali Sehat website, patrons can fund construction costs. Those who donate $100 will have their name and business name engraved onto one of the bricks that the new facility will be built with. “The Bricks for Bali campaign has currently raised close to $50,000.
Sue and I have already purchased the land and the total cost of this small hospital will be around $400,000. We obviously have quite a way to go but our commitment is to fund whatever the shortfall is, however, we would love to see people step up and buy more bricks,” says Tony.

P3 Bricks BaliListening To The Heart
For Sue de Leede, the involvement with Bali Sehat awakened a fervent interest in medicine. She watched the medical staff and volunteers as they threw themselves into each task, ready to find solutions and treat any patient who appeared. She listened to their challenges and applauded their devoted efforts … and imagined herself doing the same. So, at age 46, she began studying to become a doctor. “It’s something I’ve always thought about, but life happened around me,” she confesses. That is, until she decided to make it happen. “There was a year of premed curriculum, now I’m about three years into the program,” she says. “Then, I’ll work at a hospital for a year as a general practitioner and after that I plan to work in Bali and at other refugee camps.” She credits the Bali Sehat team and their patients as the inspiration for her leap of faith, noting that everyone has some type of hurdle to overcome in life, whether physical or circumstantial.
As Tony and Sue work alongside the Bishops to make the Bricks for Bali campaign a success, they look forward to furthering the nonprofit’s overall growth and aid. In the future, it is planned for the de Leedes to become even more involved with the operational aspects of the organization. “These are beautiful, joyful people,”
Sue de Leede praises of the Balinese residents, “and we are so excited to see this unfold.”

P5 Bricks Bali 



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